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Musical Notation Reading versus Alphabet Reading - Comparison and Implications for Teaching Music Reading to Students with Dyslexia

Authors: Ora Geiger


This paper discusses the question whether a person diagnosed with dyslexia will necessarily have difficulty in reading musical notes. The author specifies the characteristics of alphabet reading in comparison to musical notation reading, and concludes that there should be no contra-indication for teaching standard music reading to children with dyslexia if an appropriate process is offered. This conclusion is based on a long term case study and relies on two main characteristics of music reading: (1) musical notation system is a systematic, logical, relative set of symbols written on a staff; and (2) music reading learning connected with playing a musical instrument is a multi-sensory activity that combines sight, hearing, touch, and movement. The paper describes music reading teaching procedures, using soprano recorders, and provides unique teaching methods that have been found to be effective for students who were diagnosed with dyslexia. It provides theoretical explanations in addition to guidelines for music education practices.

Keywords: Dyslexia, alphabet reading, music reading, recorder playing, multisensory teaching method

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